Saturday, September 30, 2006

Man Exposes Himself to Underage Girls: The Black Lips and Be Your Own Pet

Be Your Own Pet; The Black Lips; Imaginary Icons
Brooklyn, NY - September 29, 2006

A night of hard rock n roll. BYOP's lead singer, Jemina Pearl, seemed quite disinterested in performing, and gimmick or not, I don't like that. Especially considering that when I saw this band in February, Jemina was rocking out on stage, having a great time. The boys in the band are getting quite good at their instruments and show potential to expand their musical horizons should they ever choose to do so.
The Black Lips have really defined themselves by now as a band that plays good songs badly. Songs like "Oh Katrina" really showcase the band's talents as a pure rock n roll band but their insistance on playing most of their songs out of tune and to distract everyone with gimmicks continues to hinder them. That being said though, if they have fun with it and their fans love it then so what. I could personally do without the smoke machine, the flashing lights, the spitting, the vomiting, the peeing, and the penis exposure but their fans seem to dig it. The underage girls who populated the crowd really seemed to love all that kind of stuff but considering that the leader of the underage girls in the crowd was Jemina Pearl, I guess it doesn't matter or mean anything.
Opening act Imaginary Icons are a straight up garage punk band with the successful ability to have all their songs stand out from each other. Led by Tom Dash, would you expect anything without substance? I think not.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Plaid Cowboys Ride Again

The Raconteurs; Dr. Dog
@ Roseland Ballroom
New York, NY - September 25 & 26, 2006

First off I need to apologize to readers of this blog. I did not intend for the music half of this blog in 2006 to be almost entirely focused on the Raconteurs. It just happened to work out that way (multiple gigs, affordability, news & developments). By now, anyone who actually reads this thing must groan at sight of the name "Raconteurs" and probably for that matter "Dirtbombs" as well but that just the way it be right now, kids. So bear with me.

I still don't understand how the band of storytellers came up with this Western motif they got going on (Ennio Morricone theme entrances, the occasional cowboy-esque hat, the brown and gold colors) but it works. Initially the band had no theme (the website is still designed as a primitive old Commodore style computer) but this is clearly the direction the band has taken. And it works.

When I first saw the band live at Irving Plaza in April, they were great but it didn't feel perfect. The songs clicked but not all the way. The band was tight but not incredibly tight. All that has now changed. Over the last few months, touring incessantly, this little outfit has filled in all the extra adjectives. In a microcosm, let's take their cover of "Bang Bang" (the Cher/Bono song made famous by Nancy Sinatra and revived in Quentin Tarantino's ode to Spaghetti Westerns, Kill Bill). When the band first started doing the song over the summer, the mp3 bootlegs revealed a disjointed, sloppy sounding stutter step (in fact, the way it was done, it sounded better for the White Stripes to cover). But by these last two nights, it's become more than solid, more than finely executed - it's perfect. The band sounds perfect. Maybe they were helped by the acoustics of Roseland but I first caught wind of this at the Prada gig. They are now fulfilling the hype the fans of their previous bands generated. They have met expectations. (Notice I did not say "exceed" because that would set the bar impossibly high but that day may yet come.)

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Night 1 - photo by the New York Times

Check out the New York Times review of night 1. What an odd article. Kaleefa Sanneh (who I normally agree with and enjoy when he guests on WNYC's Soundcheck) seems to actually resent Jack White's efforts to blend into the rest of his band as an equal member. While it is true he has THE talent (though history may judge Patrick Keeler to be a drummer on par with White's guitar work), and the attention and the fame and the opportunities are all based on White being in the band, there is no point in slighting the rest of the band. Brendan Benson is a fine guitarist himself and he vocally provides the balance, control, melody, and pop authenticity that this band needs (and frankly, that Jack needed). The rhythm section - Mr. Keeler and bassist Little Jack Lawrence - to say "nothing to sneeze at" is a disservice. And besides, science has shown that no band is quite that good unless it has Little Jack in it. I stand by my words. And, the fifth Raconteur (live-wise anyway), Dean Fertita on the keyboards - without him, many a song would fail. "Level" is arguably the band's best song. And without the keyboards, there would be no "Level".

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Night 2 - photo by Roxxan H

This has gone on way too long for its own good. I'll wrap up with Dr. Dog....Ehhhhh. I remember a few years ago when the hip culture papers in Philadelphia went nuts about this band as the city's potential representative in the hipster rock revival. Unfortunately, Dr. Dog turned out to be just another jam band. They offer nothing fresh or compelling or remotely interesting and Roseland Ballroom was too big for their britches. While live they don't sound anywhere near as bad as their recorded material, it still would have been better to have someone else - and yes, the first candidate is an aforementioned band that also starts with a D but let's not get into it.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: TV on the Radio

Brooklyn's most notably artistic rock band, TV on the Radio, is back with a new album and a killer single. If you missed their performance on Letterman, shame on you.
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Listen to "Wolf Like Me" on my page, before going to the official page and official site.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why YouTube and David Letterman Rule

Sometimes it's just time to unload a lot of rock n roll on you all at once and sometimes YouTube is the best avenue by which to do this.

David Letterman, for all you want to say about his comedy, remains the best network TV source for rock n roll music (ok probably second nowadays to Conan O'Brien but still...).

TV on the Radio, playing "Wolf Like Me" (their network TV debut, so good that the Late Show site has kept the performance up)

Morningwood playing "Jetsetter"

and a band that needs no introduction or word of mouth, Gnarls Barkley, doing the best performance of "Crazy" that I have seen

Meanwhile, here is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs recent video for "Turn Into"

And speaking of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, here they are, a few years back, on Later with Jools Holland, the BBC program that I have finally been able to watch here in the States on Ovation. Here is the YYY performance from the show, a few years back

And finally, what the hell, here are the White Stripes cameo on the Simpsons this past Sunday

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Artist of the Week: M. Ward

M. Ward's latest and most consistent album, Post-War, features several new classics and it kills me that I had to miss him play Webster Hall last Thursday.
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Listen to "Chinese Translation" on my page, before heading to Matt's official one and his official website.


As Sure As Death and Taxes: Electric Six at the Bowery Ballroom on a Saturday Night

Electric Six; Aberdeen City)
@Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY - September 16, 2006

Except for the jerks in the mosh pit down below, it was a decent night for E6. Unfortunately, some of the new songs lack any compelling sizzle. They're not so much run of the mill as they are squandered opportunities. Then again, I didn't like most of Senor Smoke when I first heard it but it quickly grew on me. One song off the new album is fantastic, as good as anything Dick Valentine and co. have ever done - "I Buy The Drugs" so here's the video:

Openers Aberdeen City are a Boston band that mix a previous E6 opener, She Wants Revenge, with The Smiths. And they aren't as good as either of those bands, especially of course the latter. So eh.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Kills

The duo is back and they're playing Southpaw on Friday.
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Watch the video for "Good Ones" on my page, then head to the official page for 4 tracks and the official site for more info.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Best Free Gig At Prada Ever

The Raconteurs
@Prada Store on Broadway
New York, NY - September 8, 2006

Yeah I was at a 200 VIP only party at the Prada Store for Fashion Week to see the Raconteurs play.

Actually I met my girlfriend outside the place because she wanted to get a glimpse of what was going on but we unexpectedly were able to hear the whole show loud and clear outside. Big thanks to the bouncer who let us stand right outside and even block the doors and also for rocking out with us!

The band was in great form, tighter than ever, even doing a smashing cover of Cher's (and Nancy Sinatra's) "Bang Bang" (I had hear an mp3 of previous performances and let's just say that the band has quickly worked this one out better and quickly at that).

That's pretty much it but if I have any readers that are into the Celebrity Gossip Sighting Stuff, here it is - a Blue Republic one time only event - Eric goes Hollywood: Orlando Bloom, Seth Green (who talks to the food truck guys outside), Mark McGrath, Griffin Dunne (!!! - actual talent), Lisa Marie Presley, Harvey or Bob Weinstein, Brian Grazer (who wasn't actually at the show but was walking away from the place as we were heading towards it), a guy from Interpol, Liv Tyler, Leelee Sobieski, and Winona Ryder (who left with the band, ha!).

Addendum: I can't believe I am going to address this but it's very interesting to see how gossip reporters who attend these kinds of events simply lie or print wrong information. This writer says Orlando Bloom arrived with Liv Tyler. Maybe they happened to be at the door together, but Mr. Bloom came with a buddy or two via across the street and cut in line. And this writer says she came in at the end of the line so there is no way she could have seen what she reported. And for the record, these two people being discussed also left separately. So there.
How do I know this crap? Don't ask - but I didn't want to let it slide.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Gorbachov

This is a rare moment: a band that contacts me on MySpace that's good. (instead of the other way around). Ireland's Gorbachov has a hell of a single on their hands with "Beat Machine".
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Listen to the song on my page, then go to the official page and site.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

MTV Awards

I actually watched that cavalcade of terrible rock and bland hiphop because somehow the Raconteurs got hired as the house band. The boys got progressively bored during the night, though they had fun with Lou Reed (!) and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I think MTV has all the clips up on their site but there's nothing on You Tube yet. In the meantime, here's the Racs doing the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks " in Edinburgh:

Here it is! Lou Reed & The Raconteurs doing "White Light White Heat":

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